Philosophers such as Wilfrid Sellars are often studied in light of their contemporaries or according to the school of thought that was popular during their lifetime. Learn the elements of philosophy that made Wilfrid Sellars a popular American philosopher.
Wilfrid Sellars (1912-1989) was an American philosopher and president of the Metaphysical Society, best remembered as a critic of the foundationalist epistemology school of philosophy. Born and raised in Michigan, Sellars attended the University of Michigan and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.
Sellars taught at several American universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, where he taught from 1963 until his death. Much of his work attempts to reconcile the various philosophical ways of describing the world with a scientific-based naturalist reality. Sellers combined various elements of the following in his work:
- American pragmatism
- British analytics
- German logical positivism
Sellars wanted to create a synoptic philosophy, a coherent understanding of the world as a whole. Sellars' philosophy is one of the leading parts of what has been called the "Pittsburgh School."
His most important work is Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind (1956), in which he outlined the "Myth of the Given," where he criticized the idea that knowledge of perception is independent of the conceptual processes that result in perception. Sellars is also remembered for creating the "space of reasons" and the Incompatible Food Triad puzzle, which attempts to find three foods in which any two will taste good together, but all three will not.